Tricky Presents Grassroots

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Perhaps in an effort to establish himself in the American hip-hop market -- which largely ignored his groundbreaking debut, Maxinquaye -- Tricky released the Grassroots EP in the summer of 1996. Recorded in early 1996, Grassroots consists primarily of one-off collaborations with a variety of underground and relatively undistinctive New York rappers and musicians, whose music is given weight by Tricky's menacing, hazy production. Tricky appears in the background of each song, murmuring indecipherably, but it's only when he takes the forefront on "Tricky Kid" that the EP matches the tense, psychotic soundscapes of Maxinquaye and Nearly God. The remaining four tracks have their moments -- Drunkenstein's backing vocals are evocative, and "Devils Helper" is entrancing -- but, for the most part, Grassroots consists of experiments that never quite reach their full potential.

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